Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sugar Invasion

I ran out of breadcrumbs and went to buy some the other day. Now, what possessed me to read the ingredients on the label? Perhaps it's that I've stopped buying any foodstuffs made in China, no matter how cheap. In any case, I did, read the label, and learned that the second major ingredient, after wheat, was sugar. Sugar in breadcrumbs?! Why would they add sugar to breadcrumbs? I mean, say you're having breaded fish. Do you really need sugar in there? Would you buy them if the label said: "Sugared Breadcrumbs"? If there's not enough sugar so that you can actually taste it, why add it at all?

Needless to say, I've stopped buying commercial breadcrumbs. Pssst. Here's a secret. You can make your own! That baguette you bought on Saturday to go with your spaghetti dinner ... fresh, without preservatives ... it's now Tuesday and you forgot and left it in the bread drawer still encased in its paper wrapper, and it's now as hard as a rock. Do you throw it out? Break off chunks and toss it to the birds? Here's a better idea. Get out your veggie shredder, place it on a plate, position the hardened bread against the shredder, and scrape--vigorously. Voila, instant breadcrumbs, uncontaminated with additives. Plus, it's good exercise for the arms. (Hey, how come I've never thought of this before!) Well, wait.--the "uncontaminated with additives" bit--that's only if the bread you use doesn't have them. But, hopefully, the next largest ingredient after flour wouldn't be sugar.

On another aside, Michael Pollan has come out with a new book in which he advises anyone who's interested, on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to think about health: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." (I can hear the snickers now, ha ha. But he has a point.) Under the What-Not-to-Eat category falls "anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food." We should buy better, well-grown food, he says--which of course is more expensive--but buy less of it . Makes sense to me. But I can understand how people might balk at this. Except it's not all that difficult if you think about it. Just chuck the chips and soda and cookies and use the money that would have gone for THAT to buy more organic.

Go on, preach at me some more, ha ha. (You don't of course, have to preach to the choir.) So why mention it at all? Dunno exactly, except that I like the: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" bit. Short. Simple. To the point. And incredibly good advice. I should paste that on my refrigerator. I included that today to remind myself (having just had a few cookies, not to satisfy hunger, but just because they were there.) Which shows that even the most conscientious eater slips up sometimes--and in my case, frequently enough to need reminded.

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